Daily Archives: April 14, 2009

Connect the dots…

This book is No. 1 on amazon.com:

 This is from The Associated Press today:

Homeland Security officials are warning that right-wing extremists could use the bad state of the U.S. economy and the election of the country’s first black president to recruit members to their cause.

In an intelligence assessment issued to law enforcement last week, Homeland Security officials said there was no specific information about an attack in the works by right-wing extremists.

The agency warns that an extended economic downturn with real estate foreclosures, unemployment and an inability to obtain credit could foster an environment for extremists to recruit members who may not have been supportive of these causes in the past.

Homeland Security spokesman Sean Smith said the report is one in a series of assessments issued by the agency’s intelligence and analysis unit. The agency describes these assessments as part of a series published “to facilitate a greater understanding of the phenomenon of violent radicalization in the United States.”

In February the department issued a report to law enforcement that said left-wing extremist groups were likely to use cyber-attacks more often in the next 10 years to further their cause. And in September, the agency issued a report that highlighted how right-wing extremists over the past five years have used the immigration debate as a recruiting tool.

The latest assessment started making its way into the mainstream press after conservative blogs got wind of the analysis.

In this report, the agency warns that imposing new restrictions on firearms and returning military veterans who have difficulties assimilating back into their communities could lead to terror groups or individuals attempting to carry out attacks. The returning war veterans have skills and experience that are appealing to right-wing groups looking to carry out an attack, according to the report.

The agency cites the April 4 killings of three Pittsburgh police officers as an example of a the type of violence spurred by right-wing rhetoric.

“Despite similarities to the climate of the 1990s, the threat posed by lone wolves and small terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years,” the report said.

In the 1990s, the report said, a resurgence in right-wing extremism was brought on by the poor economy and the outsourcing of jobs, with extremist groups targeting government facilities, law enforcement officers and banks.

The growth was slowed after intense government scrutiny of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings, according to the report, but the Internet now gives extremists more access to information about making bombs and weapons training. The new technologies also make it easier for extremists to communicate, the report said, and make it more difficult for law enforcement to detect or prevent an attack.

In November, after Barack Obama‘s election, law enforcement officials were seeing more threats and unusual interest against a president-elect than ever before.

One of the most popular white supremacist websites got more than 2,000 new members the day after the election, compared with 91 new members on Election Day, according to an Associated Press count. The site, stormfront.org, was temporarily off-line Nov. 5 because of the overwhelming amount of activity it received after Election Day.

Right now this book is No. 41 on amazon.com:

This book’s description is as follows:

Part novel, part survivalist handbook, Patriots tells of a small group of friends facing every American’s worst nightmare — the total collapse of society. The stock market plummets and hyperinflation cripples commerce and then a seemingly isolated financial crisis passes the tipping point when an unprepared government fails to act.

Practically overnight, the fragile institutions of democracy fall apart and every American is forced to survive on their [sic] own.

Evading mobs of desperate, out-of-control citizens who have turned Chicago [what a coincidence] into a wasteland of looting and mayhem, this novel’s protagonists make their way to a shared secure ranch in the wilds of northern Idaho [yet another coincidence!]. Here the survival-driven group fends off vicious attacks from the outside [let me guess: attacks from same-sex-marriage-demanding zombies who want to take away the patriots’ guns and give their women partial-birth abortions!] and eventually assists in restoring order to the country.

The compelling, fast-paced action-adventure novel has readers jotting notes and referencing the book’s impressive index for informative survivalist tips on everything from setting up a secure shelter to treating traumatic flesh wounds.

Nice! I can’t wait for the movie!

This undated photo released by the Pittsburgh Police shows Richard ...

Associated Press photo

Richard Poplawski, 23, pictured above, gunned down three Pittsburgh police officers with an AK-47 earlier this month. A white supremacist gun nut, he apparently believed that his right to bear arms was jeopardized because of the election of Barack Obama.

Surely the wingnut noise machine had nothing to do with his actions. People never listen to propaganda and then act on it. Ideology never leads to actual actions!

Yes, that appears to be a tattoo of a bald eagle splayed across his chest…

What a patriot!

More articles of interest:

So when George W. Bush & Co. blatantly stole the presidential election of 2000 and then proceeded to run the nation into the ground — laying waste to the economy and stretching the military dangerously thin — it was all A-OK with the wingnuts.

But now that we have a president who actually was democratically elected by an actual majority of the American people, because their candidate lost the election, the wingnuts are screaming “tyranny” and are claiming that they are “patriots” who want to overthrow the democratically elected government.

These nutcases are looking for any reason to start their attempted violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of the United States of America.

For most of them, it probably never will go any further than rantings and ravings on wingnut blogs. But there are plenty of those, like Richard Poplawski, who can become unhinged. And they have home arsenals.

Far from being “patriots,” those who are crying “tyranny” are traitors at heart and it is they who wish to be the tyrants, as were their former unelected leader, George W. Bush, and his henchpeople, such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

More dangerous now to Americans than are members of al-Qaeda or any other “Islamofascist” terrorist group are the stupid white men who, because a stupid white man no longer leads the nation, are contemplating domestic terrorism (in the name of “patriotism”) against the will of the majority of American voters, which they call “tyranny” instead of what it is: democracy.

It is ironic that the new federal department that the wingnuts created, the Department of Homeland Security, now, apparently, has to protect us Americans from the wingnuts.

OK, let’s end on a (nervous) laugh.

You know, all of this reminds me of this:

“A Brief History of the United States of America”

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The big gay boycott that almost was

A friend of mine and I were instant messaging each other the other night when he informed me that amazon.com had stripped non-pornographic gay- and lesbian-themed books of their sales rankings and thus removed them from the website’s best-seller lists. Apparently, he informed me, amazon.com had reclassified gay- and lesbian-themed books as being “adult,” as in pornographic or at least not for minors.

I hopped on to amazon.com and checked the book that I’m in the middle of now — The Mayor of Castro Street, the late gay journalist Randy Shilts’ famous, definitely non-pornographic biography of gay-rights icon Harvey Milk.

My friend was correct; gone was the book’s sales ranking. However, I did not see on the webpage any indication that the book had been reclassified as being an “adult” book (not that I necessarily would have seen any indication of that, but I looked for it anyway).

The Mayor of Castro Street was just one of many gay-themed non-fiction and fiction titles that amazon.com apparently had blacklisted (pinklisted?), such as Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain, James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room and E.M. Forster’s Maurice .

These apparently pinklisted books not only lost their sales rankings and spots on amazon.com’s best-seller lists, but apparently were blocked from appearing in any search results on the website as well, according to the New York Times’ website.   

Talk of boycotting the suddenly homophobic amazon.com flooded the Internets. The news that amazon.com apparently had gone homophobic overnight, apparently thinking that no one would notice (at least not to the point that it would become a problem for the corporation), spread like wildfire.

After my friend informed me of the new controversy during our IM session the other night, I was willing to hold off for another day or two to see what amazon.com’s answer to the tide of complaints would be before I would join a boycott against amazon.com and encourage others to boycott amazon.com, too.

I held off on signing the online petition against amazon.com’s apparent new homophobic policy, and I also didn’t really want to blog on the topic until we’d fully heard what amazon.com’s side of the story was.

I don’t know if that was so much out of wise restraint or if it was more out of the fact that I really, really didn’t (and still don’t) want to have to boycott amazon.com (as I give amazon.com considerable business, including buying gifts for others), but that I will do so if necessary.

Amazon.com’s official story is that it all was just a “glitch.”

Maybe it was.

Maybe it wasn’t.

(The Mayor of Castro Street has its sales rank back, I see, but its rank is rather dismal…) 

What I have taken away from the amazon.com boycott that almost was, however, is the impressive rapidity with which the gay community can respond to a perceived threat against it, the rapidity with which information can travel within the gay community (OK, if you feel that there is no real gay community, there certainly is a very real gay “e-community”) and with which a real or perceived threat can be dealt with.

I don’t think that it was more than within 24 hours (48 hours, tops) that the news then spread that amazon.com had claimed a “glitch” and that the sales rankings (and also the searchability, apparently) had been restored.

Why am I not so certain that it was a “glitch” on amazon.com’s part?

Well, I very recently wrote about the plethora of wingnut titles on amazon.com’s top 100 best-selling books list.

Apparently the wingnuts, in desperation now that a “socialist” black man — gasp! — is president, are consoling themselves and each other through such wingnut manifestos as, well, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, which rather disconcertingly has been at No. 1 on amazon.com for some time now (and which I suppose we liberals might want to read in order to know what “arguments” the enemy is making, as nauseating to read such a book would be; maybe they can have a special Liberty and Tyranny edition for us liberals that includes a wire brush with which we can scrub ourselves after each time we open the book and read any of its words). 

Hey, I guess it’s good that the wingnuts are actually reading, even if they are reading books that are the modern-day equivalent of Mein Kampf. (Hey, wingnuts, let us egghead liberals know if you need any help with the big words!)

Anyway, my point is that with this apparent increase in wingnut dollars to amazon.com, I wouldn’t be at all surprised that amazon.com’s apparent short-lived e-jihad against gay men and lesbians in fact was no “glitch” at all, but came from anti-gay pressure from their wingnut customers. (You know, to “protect the children” and the like.)

The gay community (OK, e-community…) really came together on this one, even if it actually truly was “just a glitch” and thus even if it was just a drill.

The example of amazon.com will, I think, make other corporations think twice before going homophobic.

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